You know firsthand how powerful and transformative music can be. Music is incredible because not only do we hear it, but we experience it with our whole bodies.
Not only does music touch us emotionally, but music physically resonates with us as well!
It’s an amazing feeling, but our ears are bearing the brunt of that resonance. And they’re pretty delicate little organs.
Our ability to enjoy listening to music depends on the health of our ears.
Did you know that a lot of the daily activities and environments of life can contribute to hearing loss?
🗯️ It has to do with the decibel level of the sound (how loud it is, essentially), and length of time exposed to that sound at a certain decibel.
As songwriters, we find ourselves in places with music all the time. Which unfortunately means, increased risk for hearing damage. 😞
Let’s talk about some of the preventable ways we can nurture our precious ears, so we can continue to create music for the long term!
Ok so let’s talk about music festivals and concerts real quick. 🎸🥁
It’s probably pretty obvious, but live music is loud.
We’ve all been there – standing in the front row at a concert or music festival, feeling the bass vibrating through our bodies. It’s exhilarating, right?
I love being in the front row of shows. It’s kind of a requirement for me. I need to have that connection with the artist by having the stage in my full field of view.
But being close to the stage means being close to many. Many. Speakers. 😰
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that noise exposure levels should not exceed 70 dB over a 24-hour period, and 85 dB over a 1-hour period to avoid hearing impairment.Centers for Disease Control
Our ears are delicate instruments, and they’re not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to loud noises.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) can lead to hearing loss. To put that into perspective, live music at concerts often exceeds 100 dB! 😱
I have a touch of tinnitus from going to live shows without hearing protection, and likely a few other loud events. It rings when I sleep. I wish I had known more about preventing hearing loss like this! It’s a part of my hearing I’ll never get back.
While it’s not devastating, I’m now doing all I can to protect the rest of my hearing range. I use hearing protection when I sleep, and when I’m out at shows.
I keep my Loops in my bag. They’re literally with me everywhere I go, and I reach for them all the time.
So how loud is live music?
The National Institute of Health says,
- Music through headphones at maximum volume, sporting events, and concerts: 94-110 dBA
This means that regular exposure to loud music at concerts (and even through your headphones!) can gradually wear down our hearing, leading to potential hearing loss.
Tinnitus and Music-Induced Hearing Loss 🔔
Ever experienced a ringing in your ears after leaving a loud concert?
That’s called tinnitus, and it’s a sign that the noise was too loud for your ears.
While temporary tinnitus might go away after a few hours or days, repeated exposure to loud music can lead to chronic tinnitus – a constant ringing or buzzing in your ears that doesn’t go away. (Hi, this is me!)
And trust me, it’s not a pleasant background score to your life’s soundtrack!
Protecting Your Ears and Preserving Your Music 🎶
So, how can we continue to enjoy our favorite tunes without risking our hearing? Here are a few tips:
- Use Earplugs: High-fidelity earplugs are designed to reduce noise levels without distorting the sound quality. They’re a must-have for any concert-goer! 🎧 Like I mentioned earlier, I LOVE my Loops. I even wear these gorgeous things to the grocery store.
- Take Breaks: Give your ears a rest every now and then.
- Monitor Volume Levels: When listening to music through headphones, keep the volume at a safe level.
- See your doctor, fam: Take care of your hearing with your physician. They know how to help! Regular hearing tests can also help detect early signs of hearing loss.
Your hearing is precious. Protect it so you can continue to enjoy the beautiful symphony of life.
After all, as musicians and music lovers, our ears are our most valuable instruments. Let’s treat them with the care they deserve! 🙌🎵
Important: This post is for informational purposes only. This post should not be taken as medical advice or used as a substitute for such. You should always speak to your own doctor before implementing this information on your own. Thank you!